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Rockford area experts react to Illinois foreclosure rate jump

Thursday, August 12, 2010  
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By Rebecca Klopf

ROCKFORD (WREX)
- A large number of people in Illinois find out they are at risk of losing their homes. A new report from RealtyTrac finds about one in every 270 homes in the state was at some stage of foreclosure last month. It's a pretty substantial jump from the month before. The 33% increase gives Illinois the 8th highest foreclosure rate in the nation, but experts say they've been expecting this.

"What you're seeing is what happened a year ago, 6 months ago, 18 months ago and they've gotten to the end and now the banks have said we have to take action," says Frank Wehrstein owner of Dickerson & Nieman Realtors.

While the state may continue to see high foreclosure rates for awhile, according to one local economist there is good news.

"My sense is the defaults have peaked," says Fred Rezazadeh, Business Economics Professor at Rockford College. "This is certainly true nationally based on the Fannie Mae data, but it may be slower locally.''

Rezazadeh said this means foreclosure rates will soon follow. He just doesn't know how long of a wait it will be. But if you are defaulting on your mortgage payments, it doesn't have to end in foreclosure.

"Instead of putting your head in the sand or avoiding the situation, get out in front of the foreclosure process by communicating with your banker, talk to your lender. The banks don't want your home either," Wehrstein advises.

Rezazadeh adds, a high foreclosure rate makes it a bad time for sellers, but good for buyers. He says you will probably be able to find some great deals on the market. Plus, according to Freddie Mac the 30 year fixed mortgage rate fell over the past week. Its now down to 4.44% percent - the lowest level in decades. Borrowers can get a 15 year loan for 3.92%, on average. That's the lowest ever recorded.

This story appeared at http://www.wrex.com/Global/story.asp?S=12973122 on August 12, 2010.

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